Bamboo removal sparks complaints

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Riverside HOA attempts to remove bamboo near trail, but neighbor says it was on his property

By Kelli Siehl, Staff Writer, The Times

A stand of bamboo that may have been encroaching on a trail in the Riverside neighborhood in Pocopson — that the township ordered removed by the homeowners association — has a neighboring property owner saying his property rights were violated, as the bamboo was on his property.

POCOPSON — Bamboo is used in religious ceremonies throughout the world, thought to contain many medicinal properties and is believed by some to restore balance to the earth. Unlike a good fence, bamboo proved not to be a good neighbor during Monday night’s Township Supervisors meeting.

Township resident Ralph Miller clashed with representatives from the Riverside Homeowner’s Association (HOA), as to the reason the HOA hired a landscape company to remove a stand of bamboo that Miller said was “55 feet” on his side of the line separating the two properties. Miller showed officials sharp, pointed pieces of bamboo that he said were left in the wake after the landscapers retreated from his property. He expressed concern for others safety,  saying someone could be injured if they fell on one of the spikes.

Riverside Homeonwers Association President Celeste Scozzafava explained that over the past few years, the bamboo has “encroached” onto the Riverside property – growing under and threatening the integrity of a walking trail which loops around the development.

Scozzafava told the board of supervisors the HOA asked township officials to investigate who owned the property and would be responsible for the bamboo’s removal. She said the Township Code Enforcement Officer and a member of the Township Planning Commission assessed the site and notified the HOA that all of the bamboo was located on the Riverside property.

In addition, she said the HOA received a township citation requiring them to remove the bamboo because it is considered a nuisance plant.

In response, the HOA hired a landscape contractor who began the removal process last Friday. Scozzafava said all work ceased as soon as the contractor was informed they were on the Miller property and now “we just don’t know what to do.” After explanations, Miller did agree to allow the laborers back on his property to clean up the site.

In addition, Miller brought John Kohler, owner of Chester County Bamboo, to the meeting. Kohler said he is helping other local townships by educating them about the invasive grass and offered his expertise on bamboo remediation to the Riverside HOA and Pocopson Township.

Supervisors’ Chair, Steve Conary said officials could not respond appropriately during the meeting since the township’s code enforcement officer was not present, but added that the board would have an answer once they gathered all of the facts.

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